A new support group, which will offer help to people suffering from one of most difficult to diagnose forms of cancer as well as their families, has received the backing of Staffordshire's GP led Clinical Commissioning Groups.
The Staffordshire Pancreatic Cancer Support Group has been established by Lesley Goodburn. Lesley's husband, Seth, died from the condition last year just 33 days after being diagnosed.
Now she wants to help other people, and is also raising awareness of the condition among GPs and other health professionals.
The new Staffordshire Pancreatic Cancer Support Group meets for the first time on Tuesday July 7. And Lesley is also hoping as many people as possible will contact her before then.
Lesley, of Kidsgrove, is a senior manager working for the NHS and specialising in patient engagement.
She said: "I want to use my professional knowledge and my personal experience to help people whose lives are affected by Pancreatic Cancers.
"It is one of the few cancers where survival rates have barely changed over the last 40 years. Following my own experience I am aware that there is a real need for this kind of group throughout Staffordshire."
Lesley has contacted all six of the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the county – Cannock Chase; East Staffordshire; North Staffordshire; Stafford and Surrounds; Stoke-on-Trent; South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula.
She said: "The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with offers of support. I am also helping raise awareness of the condition among GPs because, on average, sufferers visit their GPs six times before they receive a correct diagnosis.
"Pancreatic Cancer has a range of symptoms that can initially be misleading. It's important everyone has as much awareness as possible."
Dr Paddy Hannigan, Chair of Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We're delighted that this new support group is being established in Staffordshire. We want to use the experiences of patients as much as possible to help us improve NHS services for local people, and where it's appropriate that can extend to the way we commission services."
The initial meeting takes place at Newcastle Community Fire Station, Knutton Lane, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 2SL , from 5-7pm on Tuesday July 7.